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Limnology and Oceanography






Observations in Lake Nitinat, an anoxic fjord on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, indicate that the large accumulations of ammonia, carbonates, phosphates, silicates, and sulfides in the deep water are the result of oxidative and fermentative decomposition of organic matter of planktonic origin, the reduction of sulfate ions, hydrolytic or other non-oxidative release (in the case of silicates), and the solution of carbonates (which also increases the alkalinity). Ammonia, sulfides, and silicates accumulate in the sulfide zone in direct proportion to each other, but some of the phosphate is probably released from the organic matter earlier than the other components, and some of the phosphate may be precipitated onto the bottom. Methane was observed in the anoxic waters, suggesting that some decomposition takes place by anaerobic fermentation. The concentrations of ferrous and sulfide ions are probably controlled by the solubility of ferrous sulfide. The vertical distribution of sulfides can be described by a mathematical model that can be simplified to one dimension because horizontal advective and diffusive terms can be neglected.

Original Publication Citation

Richards, F. A., Cline, J. D., Broenkow, W. W., & Atkinson, L. P. (1965). Some consequences of the decomposition of organic matter in Lake Nitinat, an anoxic fjord. Limnology and Oceanography 10: 185-201.

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